The undefeated USF Bulls enter Saturday night’s Homecoming match-up against the Cincinnati Bearcats in a favorable position. The team is one win away from matching their best start in program history, which was 6-0 back in 2007.
A rebuilding UC program will visit Raymond James Stadium at 2-5 overall and winless in the American Conference.
It’s a stark contrast to the 18th-ranked Bulls who sit atop the conference standings. USF is coming off their bye week as healthy as can be expected six weeks into the season.
Here’s a look at three specific areas of play or players to keep an eye on as the Bulls look to continue their winning streak.
1. Expect the Bulls to Pile On the Points
In their last contest, USF set the program record for the most points in a road game with a dominant 61-31 win at East Carolina. That set a program record for the most points in a road game.
The Bulls are riding a nation-leading 22-game streak of scoring 30 or more points— only one game shy of the record of 23 held by Oregon (2011-12).
While the Bulls offense has struggled to find consistency, we saw one of their most complete efforts against East Carolina. Five different offensive players scored touchdowns as QB Quinton Flowers led a balanced attack. Linebacker Auggie Sanchez tacked on another Bulls TD when he scored on a 43-yard interception return. That’s the kind of play this team will need down the stretch.
USF ranks in the top 10 nationally in scoring (fifth, 44.8 ppg), rushing (fifth, 309.2 ypg) and total offense (10th, 510 ypg).
The Bulls’ first-team offense scored on 14 of its past 17 possessions and posted 77 points in the past six quarters. Expect another high-scoring performance against Cincinnati, whose defense is dealing with its share of challenges.
The Bearcats defense has allowed 131 points and more than 1,500 total yards in the past three weeks.
2. Can USF get off to a faster start?
The biggest challenge for this team has been finding their rhythm early on— especially on offense.
South Florida was plagued by sluggish and sloppy starts in their first four games. However, they turned that trend around against East Carolina. The Bulls’ offense got off to a quick start in its road conference opener on Sept. 30 and will look to do the same on Saturday night.
They’ll certainly have an opportunity to do so against the Bearcats, who have struggled in the first half of games this season. Cincinnati has been outscored 62-21 in the first quarter this season.
3. D-Lo is back in action
Coach Strong said sophomore slot receiver Deangelo Antoine will be ready to go when Cincinnati visits Ray Jay. Antoine did not play the past two games due to an ankle injury. In his two games this season, Antoine has averaged 18.2 yards per catch and 15.3 yards per carry.
Antoine is a player to watch. He made his first start in USF’s 47-23 win over Illinois in which had 124 all-purpose yards including his first career touchdown on a 39-yard pass from Flowers.